Fortune Island: Of Ruins, Cliffs and Models

Friday, June 05, 2015Ryan Mach

Fortune Island: Of Ruins, Cliffs & Models
This may sound a bit harsh but let's just say that the beach in Fortune Island is unattractive and well, quite forgettable. The long stretch of coarse and pebbly shore is littered with chicken bones, shards of glass, dried up dog crap and bits and pieces of trash left by campers. Swimming in the shallow area of the beach can be a bit challenging too because it's strewn with rocks in varied sizes and texture.
Boat moored at the shore
But what it lacks in aesthetics make up for its character and overall vibe. There is a beautiful ruin on top of the hill, which apparently is Fortune Island's main draw. The ruined acropolis, built and eventually abandoned by the Levistes, is reminiscent of The Parthenon in ancient Greece. Haughty Dorian columns out in the open, perfect backdrops for themed, and sometimes silly but fun pictorials.
Dorian columns
The columns in B&W
Our tour organizer, the wacky Rommel of TheLittleFoxPh, shared with us as we were approaching the town of Nasugbu, the jump-off point to Fortune Island, that the island is being claimed by various parties causing some political disputes over the ownership of the island. We were told that it's currently owned by some Korean businessman and operated by local folks of Nasugbu. "You can't simply go to the island without making prior arrangements with the operators," he cautioned. Someone on the island will check your receipt. If it's not issued by authorized people, well, I assume they tell you to get your butts back to the boat and go back to the mainland. 
People flock the columns

I didn't notice anyone inspecting our 'papers' upon arrival. I was busy observing the beach while helping the group transfer the goods from the boat to the shore. Since it couldn't dock at the shallow area, we were obliged to hop off while getting soaked in the process. We couldn't complain at this point anyway because we're already wet to begin with. The waves back in Nasugbu greeted us with a splash, literally.
Our camp site as viewed from the acropolis
What greeted us in Fortune Island was the huge number of tents occupying the entire stretch of the beach. Weekends, typically. Our organizer who knew the place quite well (it's his fourth time there) found us a place to settle. Our spot, which we owned 'legally' by putting rocks around it, was just a few steps away from the acropolis so we could go up there and back down to our tent in a jiffy!
The acropolis as viewed from the beach

After setting up the tents, Rommel whisked us off to enjoy and explore the place. The sun was about to set, it cast a beautiful and warm yellow light all over the acropolis, which was now swarmed by people who all wanted to have the place by themselves.
Photo-ops at the columns

Creative shot

Since I didn't know anyone in the group, except for Rommel, I played a loner by sitting near the columns, watching people pose and do creative shots. Some groups were ballsy enough to stand dangerously near the precipice just to get the perfect photo they're aiming for.
Dusk setting in
Back at the camp, my tour mates, mostly composed of librarians, were having problems cooking rice. Tempers were running high, stomachs were growling and the fatigue from the long drive and boat ride had finally taken its toll. Dinner was served a little late.
There was bonfire, and marshmallows, and games to get everyone back in the mood. We capped the night off with a few rounds of Emperador. The stars we fervently hoped to see were shrouded by
thick clouds. They only appeared during dawn, while I was still asleep.
Nasugbu at night
Bonfire is allowed in the beach
Photo credit: Angelo Nelson
I was actually feigning sleep. I heard people rise and talk about going up the acropolis but I wasn't interested to join the fun. It's four in the morning and I was pissed. My inconsistent sleep pattern had made me sour and grumpy. Missing the stars was a decision I would regret in the next days especially after seeing the photo of the magnificent constellation which was captured by one of my tour mates and shared on Facebook. I didn't catch the sunrise too. Boo.
The cliff
I heard no boo's when I jumped off the cliff at the rocky section on the other side of the island. The cliff offers an adventure to those who want to conquer their fear of heights and water. If you wish a more intense adventure, you can freely go up to a higher section of the rocks. I say 'freely' because there's nobody there to stop you. In other words, there are no lifeguards in the area. As a matter of fact, there is no guard in Fortune Island.
 Watch me jump!
Drowning lad being rescued by an Indian guy
Nobody did stop a seemingly daring lad from jumping off a risky section of the rocks, away from the regular jumping spot. The impact of the fall had probably caused him some stress which made him exhausted. Treading in the water with difficulty, he called for help from the spectators above him, us included, complaining that he couldn't make it anymore. His racket helped get the attention of a group of Indian guys who braved the waters and rescued him.
The camp at 9AM
Braving the scorching sun, a group of boys gamely agreed to act as models for the commissioned photoshoot I did for a friend for her online shop. The challenge was for them to sell two items
through pictures. They did deliver! It was fun! Here are some of their photos:
Giorgio Armani
Aviator Ray Ban
The LittleFox tries modelling
Reading Murakami
The columns make for a great backdrop
Look up, young man!

My friend sells original Ray Ban, Giorgio Armani colognes, bags, shoes and many more. You can check her items by going to her FB page and Instagram account.

The not-so-fun part happened on our way back to Nasugbu. We had to wait for more than 2 hours for the boat that didn't arrive. We ended up taking a large fishing boat. It was such a big hassle but in retrospect, it was a memorable experience in itself.
Crate at the fishing boat
Rommel sharing the hassles we encountered with the resort manager

Itinerary (based on TheLittleFoxPh's)
Budget: 1,999 (Includes accommodation, transportation and boat transfer and food)

Day 1
07:30AM- Meet up at Jollibee - Cubao Farmers
08:00AM- Departure
12:00AM- Lunch at Nasugbu Town Proper
1:00PM- Market to buy food and provisions
Fresh produce at the wet market in Nasugbu

03:30PM- Departure to Fortune Island
04:30PM- Fortune Island, Camp set up
05:00PM- Free time, Swimming, sunset, firewood gathering, Pictorial,
06:00PM- Dinner Preparations
07:30PM- Dinner time
09:00PM- Socials (Booze, Campfire)
10:00PM - Lights out
Day 2

05:00AM- Wake up call
05:30AM- Breakfast Preparation
06:00AM- Sunrise
07:00AM- Breakfast time
08:00AM- Pictorial, Columns, Hill Climbing
09:00AM- Cliff Diving, swimming,
10:00AM- Lunch preparations
10:30PM- Lunch Time
11:00PM- Swimming
03:00PM- Boat ride to Nasugbu
05:30PM- Shower
07:00PM- Dinner
08:00PM- Departure to Manila

Meet the whole gang.
Photo by Christian Albay
Photo by Christian Albay
Meet Tarra, our non-human companion in Fortune Island

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